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updated: 5/9/2014 8:23 AM

Illinois professor oversees Updike home renovation

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Associated Press

John Updike once helped an Illinois English professor propose to his wife to be. And now that same professor is helping preserve the celebrated novelist's legacy.

The (Bloomington) Pantograph reports that Illinois Wesleyan University professor James Plath is overseeing the renovation of the writer's childhood home in Shillington, Pennsylvania.

Plath first got in touch with Updike in 1986 while working on his dissertation and they stayed in touch. Updike wrote a note to Plath's future bride in a copy of his novel, "Marry Me."

As president of the John Updike Society, Plath helped arrange the purchase of the Pennsylvania home.

Plath asked Updike permission to form a society in his name and Updike always said, "Not in my lifetime." It was formed four months after Updike died in 2009.

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